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BTopenworld users are to be offered the chance to protect themselves from hackers through vulnerability assessment technology, after a deal between the telco and security firm Internet Security Systems.

The agreement means that from today BTopenworld's broadband service subscribers will be able to access ISS's Online Scanner free of charge for a trial period of 90 days. Pricing after this exclusive trial ends hasn't been set.

Online Scanner will identify potential security risks, such as open network drives, the presence of Trojans or unpatched browser vulnerabilities, that would be easier for crackers to exploit on victims with an always on Internet connection, which BTopenworld provides. The technology, which is familiar to corporates but not widely available to consumers, also provides instructions designed to allows user to protect themselves against breaches of privacy, for example by warning against possibly insecure electronic commerce sites.

The Online Scanner application can be downloaded from the BTopenworld site and will run from within Internet Explorer (IE) versions 4 and above. Once the scan is completed, normally within nine seconds, it provides the user with a list of potential security hazards with the software on their PC. These are ranked as high, medium and low, along with recommendations on how to tighten up security.

Robin Dahlberg, managing director of ISS's UK and Ireland operation, promised that the software "works without collecting any information from the user's PC".

Online Scanner is the first of an integrated portfolio of security-based services due for launch by BTopenworld later this year. Other security applications offered through the BTopenworld shop will include antivirus software and firewalls. ®

How BTopenworld subscribers can get the software:
For those with access to the BTopenworld personal portal, the Online Scanner application can be downloaded by means of the BTopenworld site
www.btopenworld.com/consumer
. A version for Mac user is being developed, we are assured, and will be rolled-out later this year.

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